Wave Power Array To Get Real-World Test

Another wave power generator is making its way to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland. Following its testing in Leith, near Edinburgh, ScottishPower Renewables’ new P2 Pelamis wave power device took a two-day oversea journey to join a similar machine, installed at the EMEC last year by E.On. The two P2 Pelamis machines will undergo further testing in tandem, allowing the companies to better understand how an array of devices would operate under real-world conditions. The trials will help the companies design larger commercial systems.

The 180-meter-long P2 uses hydraulic cylinders to convert the motion of waves into electricity. The power generated is then transmitted back to shore by a subsea cable. The P2 is the second-generation machine developed by Pelamis Wave Power, and is expected to be more efficient than its predecessor. A single P2 device can generate 750 kilowatts (kW) of electricity, enough to power approximately 500 homes annually. The construction of the device was partially funded by a grant from the Scottish government’s Wave and Tidal Energy Support Scheme (WATES).


image via ScottishPower Renewables

ScottishPower Renewables is also developing a wave energy site at Marwick Head in the Pentland Firth that could host up to 66 Pelamis P2 wave power generators.

“Scotland is continuing to lead the world in the development of wave and tidal energy, with a quarter of Europe’s tidal stream and a tenth of its wave energy potential,” Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement. “As the last of our WATES funded projects, this is a significant milestone and is evidence that public funding is helping developers exploit that resource, enabling the marine energy sector to go from strength to strength. This latest development further reinforces the growing momentum in marine renewables across Scotland and the breadth of activity taking place at the world-leading European Marine Energy Centre.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

    • Anonymous

      I thought the whole idea was to have sustainability combined with consistency? Tidal currents are dependent upon what? Yes, the tides. Even a cursory glance at a tide book will reveal that they are subject to daily variations as to length, direction and intensity; and that that effect is subject to amplification or diminution according to both lunar and solar influences, which also cause seasonal changes in intensity. After all, once you poke a hole in the earth’s crust, the liquid and/or gaseous carbon product just gushes out at a fairly predictable and steady rate independent of solar and lunar forces, making it easier and more profitable to harness. I think here, the trick is to find the method and real-estate that will allow us to harvest the earth’s energy potential in a sustainable, consistent and profitable way. Without killing either fish or birdsu00a0by tilting at windmillsu00a0with whirling blades placed in less than ideally predictable locations with fairly consistent energy output potential, regardless of the aforementioned short term variables that keep getting in the way as they are now.

      • Anonymous

        I do not agree with the firstu00a0premice of MyronJPoltroonian. While it might be convenient to have a reliable power source like a nuclear power station that emits power 24 hours a day all year, there are other possibilities.u00a0Accept power when it is available. Tidal currents are free, dude!nnTo a certain extent, you can temporarily store power in either batteries or by pumping water upstream and storing it in a basin and allowing it to flow back down to turn hydroelectric turbines at will. You take what you can get for free and then you use ingenuity to figure things out. From an American.

        • Anonymous

          My Dear ” … Fried”, (and this from a displaced “Damn Yankee” living in Calipornia),nu00a0Nothing, not even “Tidal currents are free, dude!”; nor are they steady and consistent. My premise is not, as you mistakenly surmise, to increase, willy-nilly, our current means of energy production (no pun intended. No, really!). I can just imagine the flaming hoops and interminable roadblocks put in the way of retrofitting dams and their ancillary systems to reuse their water over and over again. Likewise, the permitting process to build just one new nuclear facility, or one new oil refinery – let alone the actual number we really need – would be both mind boggling and glacially slow. However, there are no “Magic Bullets” thus far, in the near future. Although I did find an article on these very pages that told me that my independently derived idea of where to locate engines of power generation (“Location, Location, Location”), for that is what they are, is right. Although he,has conceited some sort of what I’d call some monkeey-motion contraption (with far too many parts to break) to harness the plentiful energy supply. I shall, however, not divulge my thoughts further without an iron-clad non-disclosure agreement, for it would take companies with the size, scope and capabilities of GE, BP and others to really design, build and successfully operate the system.

          • StateofReason

             Actually, tidal currents are very steady and consistent.  Yes they vary but they are predictable variations.  As I’ve already pointed out you don’t need every individual power source to have the perfect consistency of nuclear power.  Supply and demand vary throughout the day and any power we can get from renewable sources allows us to shut off dirty coal generators.  We don’t need a magic bullet that will replace all of our fossil fuels.  We need many regular bullets each of which will replace some of our fossil fuel usage. 

            If you think you have one of these bullets stop wasting your time on blogs patting yourself on the back and go do something about it.  There are plenty of companies, you’ve listed a few, that just love to make money.  If your idea is solid they will buy or license it from you. 

      • StateofReason

         LOL, do you just wander from post to post on this site dropping this exact same BS every time?  Here’s a shorter version of my previous response. 

        We don’t need to replace 100% of our energy needs with renewables overnight.  Our demand and supply vary throughout the day every single day.  When demand goes up (typically mid-day, thank you solar power) power plants turn on more generators.  When demand goes down (typically at night) they turn them off.  Same with supply.  If wind picks up and a wind farm starts pumping out extra power we can turn off dirty coal fired generators. 

        We’re not going to shut down all of our coal power plants by next week, or even next year, but any time that we can generate some power from renewable clean resources we’re reducing the amount of poisons we’re pumping into the air.